【February 2019 No.401】Executive Council Raises Restructuring Issues

The second Executive Council meeting of the present two-year (41st) Kyodan General Assembly period was held Dec. 27-28, 2018 at the Kyodan headquarters, with 28 members in attendance. After a period of self-introductions, Moderator Ishibashi Hideo began by saying he will pursue structural reforms while at the same time continuing to emphasize unity around the Kyodan Confession of Faith, the church constitution, and its bylaws, besides striving to recover the life and strength of evangelism in the Body of Christ.

 

General Secretary Akiyama Toru then explained the reason why systematic theology was added to the examination for licensed preachers by the Commission on Ministerial Qualifications during the 40th general assembly period: “the members of the commission were in agreement that the doctrinal understanding of recent candidates was weak.” He reported on preparations for the establishment of the “Kyodan Youth Platform” within the General Secretary’s Office to create a place where youth activities of the various entities within the Kyodan can be integrated and engage with each other.

 

The first day’s deliberations centered on discussions concerning Kyodan structural reforms. The facilitator, Secretary Kumoshikari Toshimi, explained that the purpose of this discussion was simply “to have everyone give their honest opinion so that we can get an idea of how to move forward and not to reach any specific agreements at this time.” Each participant expressed a sense of urgency concerning the finances of the Kyodan, so the discussion began with a call to take this situation very seriously. One common sentiment was that since each local church is the nucleus of evangelism, a critical factor in restructuring is the relationship between issues of local church viability and that of the Kyodan as a whole. Another opinion was that besides efforts to eliminate wasteful duplication by streamlining the work of local churches, districts, and the Kyodan as a whole, the clarification of roles that only the Kyodan itself can fulfill would open the way to implementing reforms. Likewise, numerous comments stressed the need for focus on financial issues along with the fear that taking a defensive, protective position in this crisis could damage efforts to promote evangelism.

 

The main agenda of the meeting was the selection of the members of the various commissions and standing committees. It was evident at this Executive Council meeting, however, that the six members of the Commission on Ecumenical Ministries, with its subcommittees on evangelism, education, and social concerns, are all serving together on the three subcommittees although they were appointed to serve as two members on each subcommittee. The 16 members of the Task Force on Evangelism were also selected. (Tr. TB)

 —Kato Makoto, executive secretary

 

第41総会期第2回常議員会報告

 第41総会期第2回常議員会が2018年12月27,28日に常議員28名の出席をもって開催された。一同の自己紹介の後、石橋秀雄議長が「信仰告白、教憲・教規において一致し、主の御体なる教会として伝道の命と力の回復をしつつ機構改訂をしていく」と挨拶した。秋山徹総幹事は、40総会期教師検定委員会が補教師試験に組織神学を追加した理由を「近年の答案で教理的な知識が薄いことが検定委員会で共有されたので」と説明した。続いて「教団青年プラットフォーム」を総幹事室に設置する準備を進めていると報告した。その理由については、様々な部署で実施されている青年活動を集約、交流する場を作ることが必要である、と説明した。

 初日に今回は教団機構改訂についての協議会が持たれた。冒頭、進行役の雲然俊美書記は協議会の意図について「率直な意見を出し合って今後の方向性を定めることが目的で、この場で何らかの決議に達することではない」と説明した。協議は、各自が教団財政問題に危機感を持ち、深刻に受け止めようとの強い呼びかけから始まった。それに対しては「伝道の主体は各個教会なので、各個教会存続の問題を教団存続の問題とどうつなげるかが機構改訂の柱の一つだ」との意見が出された。同時に教会・教区・教団の働きが重複するために生じる無駄を整理し、教団にしか出来ない役割の絞り込みが改訂実施の道を拓く、との意見も出た。更には、課題を財政問題に集中して進めようとの意見が再三出た。また、危機感から守りの姿勢に入り、伝道推進の気概が損なわれることが懸念された。

 本常議員会のメインの議事は常設委員会・常設専門委員会委員の選出にあるが、今回の特徴は宣教委員会の6名の委員が、下部組織の伝道・教育・社会の3委員会をそれぞれ2名が兼任することにある。更に伝道対策委員会の委員16名を選任した。(加藤誠)

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